And The Band Played On – The Right Not To Know

IMG_2901We wait to hear from the FBI about the many unanswered questions surrounding the Tsanaevs but are assured, I don’t know if by the FBI or by information from mysterious parties who are unidentified, that the Tsarnaevs acted alone. Déjà vu the Kennedy assassination. A day after Kennedy was a murdered J. Edgar Hoover decided that it was done by one man with no other accomplices and all investigations were directed to confirm the decision he made in Washington, DC with little knowledge of the crime.

The FBI refuses to tell us what happened both before the Marathon Terrorist Attack and afterwards. Almost all Americans seem content with that. Then it appears we learn that perhaps what has been told us by those parties who are unidentified that there may be more to this. We never would have known about it except the FBI has killed a Chechen. The Boston Globe reported that ““The agent along with two Massachusetts State Police troopers and other law enforcement personnel were interviewing an individual in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation.” 

Fortlunately I think that is clearly wrong. Putting pieces together first thing you answer is the question is why the Massachusetts State Police would be in Orlando, Florida. I can tell you they are not involved in the investigation of the terrorist attack. It had to be something else. It was.

Here’s what I figure. They are in the middle of investigating the 2011 murder of three men, Brendan Mess, Erik Weissman and Raphael Teken in Waltham.  They were investigating  27 year old Chechen Ibragim Todashev who is a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and lived with him in Boston around the time of the murders. The problem was that the way the murders were done it had to have been done by more than one man. Todashev seemed to fit the bill.  This has been confirmed by NBC news. 

So you know why they are talking to Todashev. You probably will never know why Todashev was killed. The problem now is that the matter will be under investigation by the FBI who will investigate why an FBI agent killed a person being interviewed by an FBI agent and several other law enforcement agents.

It is said he pulled a knife and injured the FBI agent. There are at least five cops in the room, how does that happen?  It’d be nice to know but you know the FBI will only tell us the agent acted properly and not that it was a major screw up. Nor will the FBI tell us what the agent was doing there if it was an investigation of a Massachusetts homicide.

This is the great dilemma that America faces: it has a secret police force that is only answerable to itself. It is something that the founders of our nation could never have anticipated. It is a force totally inimical to an open and free society. No agency can investigate itself; and yet we watch while this is being done over and over again and the underlying results of its investigation are kept secret from us. We only get conclusions.

All we now know is Todashev of Orlando, Florida, was gunned down by an FBI agent. The FBI reported:“The agent was interviewing Todashev about the Boston Marathon bombings along with two Massachusetts State Police troopers and other authorities early Wednesday morning, . . . Todashev attacked the officers, and he injured the agent before being shot and killed. Neither the agent nor the officers were identified. Media reports early Wednesday said the shooting occurred at the apartment complex where Todashev apparently lived.”  But that really doesn’t make sense because the Massachusetts State Police were there.

You have to look at this video.  Todashev had been previously interviewed by the FBI. His friend said: Dunkaev, 25, said he and other Chechens were taken to the Kissimmee Police Department two days ago and interviewed by the FBI for three hours.  Then, during the early morning hours, a force of law enforcement agents descend upon where Todashev’s lived. 

Why the big force?  Did they have warrants?  How long was the interview ongoing before the killing took place. Why was the FBI agent so quick on the trigger?  What were his injuries? What did the other law enforcement people do? How many were there? Did they have a warrant to go to Todashev’s place. If so, what did the affidavits say?

This is a good case to watch. Let’s see how much of the truth we can learn about the death of Todashev. Will we know the name of the agent and the other officers in the room? Will we hear their stories? There’s so much to know and I’m anxiously waiting if we find these things out, there’s nothing secret about them.


14 thoughts on “And The Band Played On – The Right Not To Know

  1. Wait! They are reporting that the dead guy had a violent past. Who’d a thunk? No wonder they had to shoot him. Why the state police homicide detectives probably never questioned a guy with a violent past before. No wonder the feds had to kill the guy. The poor needed to protect our state police who were conducting a homicide investigation.

    1. Ernie:
      Of course, he was a violent guy and they didn’t take any steps to protect themselves and let him sit with them with a knife. They’d been following him since around 4/20 for a month, pretty closely according to some of his friends, and now a group descends on his apartment at some time in the night. Was his violent reaction caused by them insisting that he was involved in in Waltham murders? He’s in a room with at least four cops. Why?

  2. Questions
    Will local authorities in Florida have jurisdiction over the death? Will the Florida medical examiner determine cause of death? What reports will he have access to? Will every law enforcement person present (F.B.I. statement indicates many present during interview and shooting)
    Was the confessor mirandized? Will Ma state police reports match those of the F.B.I.? Does the information provided by the F.B.I make sense? Is the F.B.I. currently intimidating the MA state police to make sure the “stories” match? Can the FBI open a criminal investigation on the state troopers for perjury if their reports do not match the reports of the F.B.I. agents present at the Florida killing? Isn’t that the feds m.o.?

    1. Ernie:
      Local authorities do have jurisdiction but the FBI can scare them away by closing the scene to them with “FBI Investigation.” No one will challenge it. The Florida medical examiner will determine the cause. He may only have access to the body or a final report that the special team from DC comes up with. I don’t know if he will have the individual reports but I’m sure they will all pretty much track each other.

      Here’s what we want to know. How many times was the guy interviewed prior to this time; was he as his friends maintained constantly followed by the FBI as a means of harrassment; (when he got into a fight in Florida he told the cops who stopped him that the FBI was always following him) what time did this last interview start; who was there interviewing him (how many cops); what time did the incident occur; what was the interview about (the Marathon Terrorist Attack or the Waltham murders); was he Mirandized; if he confessed to murder is it recorded; why wasn’t he arrested when he confessed; why weren’t all those guys able to subdue him; what kind of knife did he have; etc.

      This might be all legitimate but until we have some answers, which we don’t at this time, we will have questions because this seems unusual that the cops were so sloppy (not patting the guy down) as to put themselves in a situation where they had to kill a guy they were interviewing. Start with the basic – how many cops were there and at what time.

      The FBI will ensure that the stories match. They state police superiors will assist it. No one crosses the FBI since it can do a real job on anyone who does. It operates in the background to most if not all cops fall in line. There would be no need for a criminal investigation because the trooper would be discredited by his own job. Tom Foley in his book tells how the FBI told him Trooper Naimovich was leaking information; then later it told him after he’d been following his fellow state trooper on behalf of the FBI that they found the person who was the leak and it wasn’t Naimovich; but then Foley continued investigating Naimovich looking for something else to get on him because the FBI wanted that. Finally they got a bookie by the name of McIntyre who was Naimovich’s informant and told him he’d go to prison for 1000 years if he didn’t give them something on Naimovich. He spent a day or two coming up with something including handing Naimovich a couple of hundred dollars under the table for information. Naimovich was indicted. I testified for him and he was acquitted. Foley still calls Naimovich corrupt. You see how the FBI really controls these things.

  3. Matt,

    I am sympathetic to your concerns about FBI secrecy and lack of transparency, especially to the extent the FBI is trying not to “embarrass the family.” I am less convinced that we should infer that the FBI is a secret police force accountable only to itself.

    First, an anecdote. I am an economist by training and I used to work at a consulting firm doing antitrust economics. A colleague was working on a case in the oil industry and called the Department of Transportation to ask a question relating to the feasibility or permissibility of driving diesel trucks through a tunnel versus on a bridge. The question was relating to an economic issue about whether certain transportation restrictions serve as competitive constraints in an industry. From what I understand, the conversation with the Department of Transportation was short, amicable, and informative.

    The next day, my former colleague received a call from the FBI, which sent two agents to interview him about the nature of his question to the Dept of Transportation. They had conducted an extensive background check of my colleague – knowing just about all there was to know about him. It was undoubtedly unsettling and perhaps left him a bit shaken, but I just had dinner with him last night. In other words, here it is years later and all it is is a good story. The FBI inquiry never went farther than that. They figured out that this was just a question that came up in the course of an economic consulting engagement. So the point is: I feel quite safe as an ordinary citizen. If you’re doing nothing wrong, nothing to worry about.

    Now, of course nothing is perfect. There is John Connolly. There are the national security letters – which btw were investigated by the office of the inspector general in the Justice Department, the results of the investigation summed in a 187-page report that led to reforms in the processing of the letters (same with exigency letters if I recall). There is the Hoover and his almost dictatorial legacy. You mention the Kennedy assassination and closing the book on any suggestion of conspiracies. Yet in the 1970s Congress conducted two investigations of the assassination (I believe it was two, maybe it was only one), uncovering a lot of very interesting information suggesting mob involvement, like Jose Aleman saying that Carlos Marcello said Kennedy was going to “get hit”, and that Oswald was in the company of a Marcello associate on a Marcello property a week or two before the hit. Of course, I’m not propagating a conspiracy theory here. We’ll never know, but two points: one the irony of possible mob involvement given Hoover’s long-time denial of the mafia, and two, that despite Hoover’s insistence that there was only one man, that did not stop a subsequent Congressional investigation or two, as well as inordinate speculation of possible conspiracies.

    Which leads me to the importance of the free press, and in this day and age, as you point out, the Internet. I feel perfectly safe reading this blog and any other sources of information that contradict or criticize the FBI. In fact, I’ll reveal here that I currently have an application open with the FBI. I applied in March 2009, passed phase 1, got invited to a pre-phase 2 interview in Boston (!), was denied for phase 2, moved to DC, then met an agent on the Metro one day who got me in touch with the applicant coordinator, got my file transferred from the Boston office, had another pre-phase 2 interview, then was told my file would be sent to headquarters for a determination of status regarding whether I’d be invited to phase 2 (by sometime in the summer of 2011), then didn’t hear anything for a year when a new applicant coordinator got in touch and said she would try to expedite my file and that I should send in an updated resume (this was in summer 2012), and I haven’t heard anything since.

    My guess is that sequestration has the FBI on a hiring freeze. But I known nothing because, as we know, information flows with the FBI is a one-way street. But I feel perfectly safe writing about this on this blog. Who knows, maybe there’s an agent reading this now and now any future I have with the FBI is doomed because I let all this be known!

    One last anecdote: during my pre-phase 2 interview, when asked about my interest, I mentioned my experience studying counter-terrorism. I mentioned how Thomas Joscelyn (I’ve mentioned him before) got me interested in this research, and brought up an article Tom wrote about the Fort Hood shootings: “The Federal Bureau of Non-Investigation”, about how the FBI had monitored Nidal Hassan’s activities, but then closed the case concluding they were all part of psychological research, despite December 2008 emails with Awlaki, a June 2007 presentation to an audience of psychologists which had numerous jihad references, and other pieces of information. So I brought this up in my interview with the FBI and I was not immediately rejected!

    I always smile to myself that I criticized the FBI during a pre-phase 2 interview with two agents face-to-face.

    So it may simply be all about not “embarrassing the family”. As for an unaccountable secret police force, I’m not convinced.

    1. Jon:
      The FBI guys and gals are good people as individuals but operate in a system where things happen beyond the public eye, thing that should be public. Take for instance its refusal to record any of its interviews, if this was not the case then the idea that Todashev’s verbal confession would be out and there would be no doubt about it. According to some of his friends Todashev has been constantly followed and harassed by the FBI since 4/15 and he told them that the visit by the officers to his home was going to be the last one. That doesn’t sound like a guy about to confess to murder.
      If you don’t think the FBI is accountable only to itself, who do you suggest it is reporting to? Or more simply who do you complain to if you are getting a run around or are being openly followed and harassed by it or want to know, as Jean has written, why the records they had were shredded. The idea that as an ordinary citizen if you’ve done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about seems to buttress the idea of a secret police force. That used to be the idea behind allowing the cops to stop anyone they wished and search that person’s car based on a hunch; or to go into anyone’s house without a warrant looking for contraband. The 4th Amendment was specifically intended to guard against that idea we’re all safe as long as we are good.
      Police states enforce that idea, “fall in line and thing will be fine.”
      I’m aware the National Security letters were investigated and reported by the Inspector General but the FBI’s response was to change the rules, but we don’t know if it changed the way things were done. You may recall all the rules that Judge Wolf pointed out that sound nice on the FBI books but are ignored in operation. Just take the Top Echelon Informant program where the idea the FBI would be protecting Whitey was so outrageous that the FBI said never again and then we see it was still doing the same thing in 2011. When caught, it promised to disclose why it never changed. We are still waiting for an answer despite Congressional requests.
      If you criticized the FBI during your interview I hate to tell you that your chances fell off the table to be taken on board. I’m not sure sequestration affected the FBI since it is always exempted from those things on the idea of national security. As for Kennedy, yes there were follow up inquiries by the Warren Commission and a couple of other, but that’s not my point. I’m not disputing that Oswald did the murder since I have no other evidence to point to, all I’m suggesting is that Hoover with scant evidence decided that was the case and the FBI acted to confirm it; Hoover may have been right but we do know we’ll never know if Oswald was involved with others because he closed down the investigation into that phase.
      Your friend’s story about the diesel fuel trucks should send a chill down your spine. A simple question done openly to a transportation person produces two agents to conduct an interview. It did remind me of a question I asked when a young kid in what was called CCD – Catholic kids who went to public schools attended these sessions once a week to learn about the religion. If we planning to go to communion on Sunday, we were supposed to fast from the prior midnight and not have any food or drink. I hung around with a rowdy group of 13 year olds who were already smoking and I noticed that they’d smoke before communion. I figured if you couldn’t eat you couldn’t smoke but I wasn’t sure. So I asked a nun in the CCD class if it were all right to smoke before communion. She walked down the aisle and whacked me off the side of the head saying, “you’re too young to smoke.”
      Here’s my problem. We still don’t have answers to much of what happened in Boston. You point to Nidal Hassan’s situation. That’s another one where the FBI seemed to have dropped the ball. We are relying on the FBI to be on top of these things. I recognize it can’t stop everything but if it keeps everything in-house with a mentality it can cover-up every mistake then we’ve got trouble at hand.
      I suggested we pay close attention to the information we get about Todashev’s killing to see what information we get from the special team sent down to investigate. That is if we get any.

      1. Matt,

        I share your concerns for the most part. I agree on the need for more transparency. I’m just saying from a common sense point of view, I don’t worry too much about being able to say what I want, question what I want, etc, as long as I’m not talking about committing violence or something of that nature. Freedom comes with responsibility.

        I think the FBI would have told me my file was shelved if my criticism disqualified me. That’s what they did the first time. Then I got a second chance and called them out on Fort Hood, and I haven’t heard anything either way, except that my file is active. Hey, maybe they’re monitoring me as a critic. Who knows? I’m not too worried.

        My friend’s story happened back in 03 or 04, in the shadow of 9-11, when we were learning about plots like Jose Padilla and Binyam Muhammad’s plot to blow up gas tanks in residential buildings, and numerous other plots. The jihadists are creative in their imagination. That’s for sure. Maybe the FBI overreacted, but I can understand wondering why someone would ask about being able to drive diesel trucks through a tunnel.

        I would just say that I’m in agreement that the FBI should be more open and accountable than they are. In my friend’s case, a letter of apology would have been nice. I bet he didn’t get one.

        The FBI is a bit like a black box and it’s frustrating.

        1. Jon:

          Hopefully you get a chance at becoming an FBI agent and you rise up in the ranks to the Directorship and you then bring more fresh air and light into that organization. I’ve said before I have a lot of respect for the FBI guys and gals and that is why I feel free to criticize them openly in the hope that it will change by throwing off all the secrecy and telling us what is going on. Secrecy corrupts and total secrecy is total corruption. I recognize that some secrecy is necessary but secrecy is not necessary all the time. I think the troops in the FBI are willing to be more open and that they are kept in line by an old system run by people who know no other way to change it. Hopefully you can get in there, not be intimidated by the upper strata, and bring about the necessary changes that will better the Bureau.

          1. Ha. I’m not counting on it, but I agree that the “top echelon” there seem old, crusty types set in their ways.

  4. Janet NAPOLITANO should have been summarily fired for saying, just two days after the Mass Terrorist Bombing Attack that the bombing was the work of two lone wolves.

    1. Bill:
      Remember J. Edgar Hoover decided one person murdered Kennedy the day after Kennedy was murdered and everything else worked to confirm his statement.

      Now the FBI had said two people were involved in the Marathon Terrorist Attack (MTA) and everyone has been instructed to follow along.

      There is a great need in the US to push down any ideas of a conspiracy.

      Now with the guy who was killed in Florida, Todashev. We know he was being investigated for the Waltham murders because the two state cops were there. Why then is the FBI agent there? Todashev had been interviewed previously by the FBI and there was no connection between him and the MTA. What’s the FBI doing being involved with him? What time did the interview start? What were the FBI agents injuries? If no knife, why was Todashev shot? None of it sits right. Napolitano was just following the company line.

  5. From WHDH news….

    “The man who was shot, Ibragim Todashev, 27, allegedly attacked an agent with a knife. He was not suspected of having played any role in the bombing that killed three people and injured scores more in April, but he did confess to being involved in a brutal Boston-area slaying two years ago, investigators said.

    Read more:

    The guy confessed and then he was shot and killed! I wonder if the confession was recorded?! LOL So now the FBI has solved the murder from 2 years ago… well as finding the culprits who stole the Gardner Museums art work! LOL!

    1. Question:

      We seem to be missing the knife – how did that story come out. If he confessed I hope there is a tape recording, but if there isn’t what are we left with? If he confessed, why is he being interviewed, you don’t need to get it in writing. A guy says I confess to murdering three people to at least three officers, he should have immediately been placed under arrest. Lots of unusual things going on. Whey do they need to send a special FBI team from Washington to tell us what happened. I wonder if that guy Margolis is part of the team.

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